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There are many incredible oils in the world today, but only tamanu oil was considered a sacred gift of nature by the ancient Polynesians. This oil has been part of Southeast Asian medicine for centuries and is flush with health benefits for your body. Adding tamanu oil to your daily routine will benefit your skin and improve your physical health, so taking the time to learn how to incorporate this oil into your life is well worth the effort.

What is Tamanu Oil?

Tamanu oil comes from the fruit kernel of the tamanu tree, which is native evergreen from Southeast Asia. This tree flowers twice a year and produces a small yellow fruit that contains a large nut that can be processed into tamanu oil. According to Polynesian tradition, the highest quality tamanu oil comes from trees that grow closest to the coast, as the salty, sandy soil affects the oil.

To get at this precious oil, nuts are left in a moisture-free place in the sun for about eight weeks. As the nut begins to dry, a dark, sticky oil will form on the surface that can be extracted through a mechanical cold press and processed into commercial tamanu oil. As each tree can typically produce around 5 kilograms of oil a year, tamanu oil is fairly expensive compared to other oils.

12 Great Benefits of Tamanu Oil

Why do people go to so much effort to get their hands on tamanu oil? Its impressive health benefits are responsible. Rich in fatty acids, antibiotics, and a range of other beneficial compounds, tamanu oil can be placed directly on your skin to enhance it. But that’s not all this oil can do, as it has plenty of potential health effects, including the following.  Below are 12 benefits of using tamanu oil on a regular basis.

1. Powerful Antibacterial

Tamanu oil is renowned for its antibacterial properties, precisely because of the presence of numerous beneficial acids. Thanks to their mild antibacterial properties, there is evidence that the oil can slow down the development of acne pimples and cysts. The oil can also be used to treat a range of infections like athlete’s foot, ringworm, itchy scalp and more.

2. Heals Skin Tissue

Tamanu oil aids cicatrization, or the process of forming new skin tissue. Thanks to the presence of the calophyllic fatty acid, the oil helps skin regenerate and expedites the healing process. This means that it’s an ideal treatment for addressing any lingering skin ailments like acne scars, stretch marks, sunburn, blisters and more.

3. Reduces Inflammation

Chronic inflammation can cause real problems for the long-term health of your skin, but regular doses of tamanu oil can keep it better under control. This natural oil has strong anti-inflammatory properties and can calm down skin that’s been triggered by an inflammatory reaction while reducing general swelling, rashes, sores, and abrasions. Because of how quickly tamanu oil is absorbed into your body, it’s especially recommended for people who have arthritis or sciatic nerve pain.

4. Hydrates without Greasy Residue

Do you love your daily moisturizer but struggle with how greasy it leaves your skin? Tamanu oil will keep you hydrated without leaving any residue. The oil is renowned for absorbing quickly into skin, meaning that your skin will feel instantly smooth and hydrated soon after application.

5. Natural Deodorant

Thanks to its antibacterial properties, tamanu oil makes for an ideal natural deodorant. Its natural scent is light and nutty, which many people find ideal for using as a base for their homemade personal hygiene products. You can incorporate some into your favorite recipe or simply dab some onto your feet or armpits to freshen things up.

6. Natural Pain Reliever

If you want pain relief fast, tamanu oil might give your body what you need. Flush with analgesic properties, it can work as a much-needed pain reliever for neuralgia, shingles, sciatica, and rheumatism. However, it might be especially useful for relieving physical injuries like pulled muscles, sprains, and ligament damage.

7. Reduces Skin Blemishes

If you’re sick of looking at rashes and pimple spots on your skin at all times, tamanu oil can improve your complexion and promote healthy, blemish-free skin. The oil was traditionally used by Polynesian mothers to soothe diaper rash, and it can treat a variety of skin ailments like warts, acne, skin ulcers, and allergic reactions. This oil is uniquely suited to protecting skin that’s exposed to lots of daily irritation, like your feet, hands, and other extremities.

8. Regenerates Skin

There’s a reason that women around the world rely on tamanu oil to heal their stretch marks- it works! This nutrient-rich oil is designed to provide your skin with what it really needs to regenerate itself, and it can promote the healing of blisters, burns, and cuts.

9. Penetrates all Three Layers of Skin

Most natural oils will easily blend into the top layers of your skin, but few will penetrate through all three layers (the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis). This alone accounts for much of its effectiveness for promoting health and healing for your skin and a little goes far.

10. Boosts Immune System

Thanks to its antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-fungal and antiviral properties, tamanu oil can protect your immune system against a wide variety of pathogens and keep your skin from getting infections. As your skin is the body’s biggest organ, keeping it safe will go a long ways towards maintaining overall good health.

11. Prevents Premature Aging

Tamanu oil is full of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that work as antioxidants to fight free radicals in your bloodstream. This leads to better cell functioning, and, as a result, healthier skin. As free radical damage can cause your skin to lose its elasticity and natural collagen, which is a leading contributor to age-related wrinkles.

12. Speeds up Healing

Suffering through months of scar tissue is never ideal, but applying tamanu oil to your skin can speed up the process. The antioxidants in the oil aid the healing process, and will minimize the appearance of scars at the end as well. If you have a cut, bruise, or any other injury that’s making you nervous, a dab of tamanu oil might make all the difference.

9 Ways to Use Tamanu Oil (and How)

The ways that you can make tamanu oil work for your skin is almost unlimited, so long as you don’t take it internally. However, the oil will work wonders on your skin from the outside in, and the following nine suggestions are a great place to start to make this versatile oil work for you.

1. Facial Acne Treatment

Your face is the first thing that people notice about you, and getting it looking good can be a major hassle when you deal with chronic acne. Thankfully, this facial acne treatment will make it simple to put your best face forward.

First, clean your face with a gentle cleanser and dry thoroughly. Put a few drops of tamanu oil in your hands and rub them together, applying a film of oil on your face. Use circular motions to massage the oil into your skin, and gently dab away any excess that isn’t absorbed. By repeating this treatment twice a day, you can reduce the acne on your face in no time.

2. Treat Ingrown Hairs

Thanks to its antibacterial properties, tamanu oil is an excellent option for treating ingrown hairs after shaving. A hot shower works well to open up your pores, and afterward, you can put three drops of tamanu oil with two drops of tea tree oil on a cotton ball. Gently run the oil into your shaved skin to find relief from ingrown hairs.

3. Tamanu Oil Acne Spot Treatment

If a single acne spot is starting to bother you, you can use tamanu oil for a spot treatment. This often makes all the difference. Adding just a few drops to the trouble spot and dabbing it in with a cotton cloth will make it heal up faster.

4. Tamanu With MSM Cream for Acne Scars

Acne scars need not be permanent if you regularly treat your skin with fortifying ingredients. Combining together tamanu oil and MSM cream will provide some of the sulfur that your body needs to produce more collagen and keratin for healthy skin development, making for a beneficial topical treatment for acne scars.

5. Treating Rosacea

Though rosacea has no real cure, using tamanu oil can keep the symptoms under control so that they don’t become too troubling. You can use it as a carrier oil for your favorite essential oils, but one drop of chamomile and helichrysum oil is recommended for this treatment. Just soak a cotton swab with the mixture and dab it on your skin at least three times a day for a week. After that, you can cut down to twice a day or less, and your pain and inflammation from rosacea should start to diminish.

6. Dry Scrub with Tamanu Oil

Does all your skin need a refresher? A tamanu oil dry scrub might do the trick. This treatment will thoroughly exfoliate your skin and slough off dead skin cells so that the rejuvenating benefits of the oil can do the trick. Simple rub a thick layer of tamanu oil over your skin, massaging it in for a few minutes. Afterwards, gently massage of a pinch of sugar into your skin for at least three minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. In the end, you will be left with soft, gorgeously glowing skin.

7. Hair Moisturizer

Is your hair looking limp and tired? You can gloss it up while treating damage by adding tamanu oil to your regular hair care routine. Just apply a small amount to your hand and gently massage it into your hair, paying special attention to your scalp and roots. For regular benefits, you can also add a tsp of tamanu oil to your shampoo to get the benefits every time you do your hair.

8. Fades Stretch Marks

Stretch marks aren’t inevitable, and regular treatments of tamanu are surprisingly useful for making them fade. You can make a nutrient-rich cream by mixing a quarter cup of shea butter with a quarter cup of cocoa butter and melt them together in a double boiler. Once dissolved, let the mixture cool down slightly before adding 1 tbsp of tamanu oil. Place the mixture in the fridge for about twenty minutes before adding 5-10 drops of lavender oil. Whip up the solidifying mix with your blender until it’s cream, and store in a cool, dry place for up to six months. To use, you can rub some of the blend onto your marks every night to get them to start dissipating.

9. Fungal Infections

Fungal infections can be truly nasty to put up with, but a tamanu oil treatment is often what it takes to regain control over the disease and banish it for good. Simply blend four drops of oil onto a cotton ball with a drop of oregano essential oil, and dab at the site of the infection for an antiseptic boost. Doing this after every shower can fight off fungus growth, and keeping the cotton ball in place might be necessary for harder to reach nail infections.

Tamanu Oil Possible Negative Side Effects

While there are few reported cases of negative side effects from tamanu oil, it’s important to monitor your dosage for the first few times you use it by adding a drop on a small patch of skin so that you can see if you experience any adverse reactions. Some people experience irritation, redness, or itchy skin, but this is usually caused by using too strong of a concentration on your skin. If you feel any irritation, try cutting the oil with a carrier oil and trying it again.

In rare cases, some people experience allergic reactions to this oil, especially if they are allergic to other plants in its family, like bitter kola or mangosteens. Likewise, people with a tree nut allergy should avoid the oil.

Also, keep in mind that tamanu oil isn’t a substitute for medical treatment. If you have a serious cut, it’s essential that you seek immediate professional medical treatment instead of treating yourself.

Where to Buy Tamanu Oil

Buying high-quality tamanu oil can be tricky, as there are numerous suppliers online with less than reputable products for sale. For this reason, it’s important to buy from a reliable source to ensure you are indeed getting what you pay for. Because tamanu oil is expensive to produce, some companies are known to cut it with cheaper oils to make more money. Likewise, beware any oil with too low of a price, as that’s likely a sign that it’s not all it’s advertised to be.

Below are five brands of tamanu oil that we recommend using. Some are organic, some are designed to be a higher quality cut than other oils, and all five will help renew your skin in more ways than you expect.

  1. Pur360 Tamanu Oil 
  2. Organic Tamanu Oil
  3. Inn&Co Highest Quality Organic Tamanu Oil
  4. Organic Tamanu Seed Oil and Treatment Roller
  5. Slice of Nature Virgin Tamanu Oil

About Author

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Lydia Noyes is an Appalachian homesteader and writer that lives on a land trust deep in the mountains of West Virginia.